It’s Not About The Numbers

OH YES IT IS

Last night Home Secretary Amber Rudd, appearing on BBC Question Time, repeated Theresa May’s mantra “it’s not  about the numbers”. Well, as political campaigning for the General Election resumes today, I will have the temerity to challenge that concept.
You cannot Police this (or any 1st world country) on the cheap.

You cannot defend this country on the cheap, and

You cannot ‘heal’ this country on the cheap.

I will avoid getting involved in the argument about how much our Police Officers, Armed Forces and Healthcare professionals should be paid, that is for others to decide. However, I will say that their skills, professionalism and dedication deserve better than pay freezes, pension ‘reforms’ for members already in their particular scheme, often resulting in members havingto pay  more for a reduced pension and work more years to qualify.  That is not what they signed up for, they formed reasonable expectations for their ‘old age’ and retirement and then all those plans were torn asunder by this and the previous administrations.  At its most simplistic this is disrespectful. 

There must be, hidden away someone, a number.  A number below which we should not go when policing this country.  Surely there is a definitive minimum number of Police Officers that are required to provide an effective Police Service for the UK. Nobody is in a hurry to tell me what that number is.

There must be a minimum number of soldiers, sailors and airmen that are necessary to defend our country against the multitude of modern-day threats, and their deployment in foreign climes.  Anybody know what that number is?

The NHS needs a minimum number of staff to look after our various health needs;

GPs, Nurses, Nursing Assistants, Hospital doctors and Consultants, ever more expensive equipment for radio-therapy etc, secretarial and clerical support, physiotherapists, Speech Therapists etc etc, and their associated buildings.

Even the most efficient health service, operating at 100% efficiency, cannot continue to do so on reduced resources and funding.

This administration, and the previous one, seem to be more concerned in ensuring that the mega-rich pay less taxes.  The bankers that caused this “Austerity” are once more receiving their obscene bonuses.  What is happening to the Public Secor?  Is any of this tair?

The last couple of days have seen soldiers taking to the streets in order to free up armed Police Officers for other duties.  This is most definitely about the numbers.

I’m sorry to keep banging on about it, but when Thersa May and David Cameron set about their infamous ‘Reform’ of policing, incorporating Tom Winsor’s ‘independent’ reviews, NO Risk Assessments or Impact Assessments were undertaken, or the Home Office have lied to me.

As I said earlier, it is not for me to say how much our Emergency and Armed Services should be paid, but I am perfectly entitled to have my say on Public Safety.  I am not trying to say that more numbers would have prevented recent tragedies, but they may have helped, and they would certainly have given us resilience in the aftermath.

So next time you hear a politician state glibly that it’s not about the numbers you’ll know differently.  The Great British Public is being hoodwinked. No party deserves to be elected or re-elected on the basis of untruths and subterfuge.

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It’s The Cuts, That’s All

The Armed Forces are at their lowest strength since before the Second World War.  Successive Strategic Defence Reviews have seen to that.  Only this week we waved goodbye to HMS Illustrious, off to a scrapyard somewhere.  Heaven knows when her replacement will be in situ with some fast jets aboard.  It’s the cuts you know, damned Armed Forces trying to save money, don’t they realise our country is at risk NOW?

Hospitals are closing their Maternity Units, A&E Departments etc etc.  Patients are inconsiderately cluttering up the corridors for hours before taking up a bed somewhere.  Surely they could be a bit more thoughtful. Oh? It’s the cuts you say?  Tight National Health Service trying to save some money while patients die eh?

The Prison Service have gone off piste and have decided to recruit some new Prison Officers.  They got told about the cuts but the prisoners weren’t having any of that so they started a few riots, prisoners and Prison Officers got injured so the soft Prison Service decided to recruit a few more to keep the prisoners happy.

Local Councils across the land have got the message.  They are moving books OUT of libraries to make space for staff and desks and computers etc.  It’s the cuts, stingy councils trying to save themselves some money.  Meals on Wheels? Remember them? Care for the elderly?  Leave them in hospital blocking the beds, that will save us a few thousand.

The Coastguards, they’ve done their bit too.  Shut a few of their coastal stations, outsourced their heliborne rescue service and shed a few coastguards.  That will help.  Who needs safety on our waters, a smaller bill is all we need.

20,000 fewer Police Officers, about 650 fewer Police Stations, savaged Pension Schemes.  The Police are doing their bit.  The only problem there is that crime is going UP. With fewer officers to deal with it, prevent it or solve it that’s a tad problematical, but never mind it will sort itself out, it’s only the cuts after all.  Now, apparently, the Police are somehow responsible for monitoring, or caring for, everyone who is released from Police Custody back into Society.  Where on earth are the resources for that coming from.  Never mind, the cuts will sort it out, they can stop doing something else instead.

As I got to the end of this far-from-exhaustive ‘list’ it occurred to me that there is in fact a Common Denominator.  Her Majesty’s Government.  Now led by Theresa May she has continued with all the old policies of Camoron, and her own as Home Secretary, and it is actually THE GOVERNMENT that are responsible for all these failings.  The BBC and The Mail have been criticising individual organisations for years, but it has now become crystal clear to me, the Government did it. Not the Prison Service, not the NHS, Not the Armed Forces, not the Coastguard Service, not the Police.  It was the government all along.  How did the BBC and The Mail not notice this? Crikey, it seems so simple now.

Maybe if we ask Cruella of the £1000 trousers nicely she’ll put it all back the way it was, except I fear that it’s far too late for that. The damage is done and the damage is deep.

Well done Mrs May. You must be very proud of what you and your party have achieved.

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Dear Media, Why Do You Hate Us So?

Are you really the right hand men of an incompetent government, intent to bring the Police Service, and others, to their knees? Or is it just that it looks that way?

Newpaper headlines are almost always slanted to make our Police Service look incompetent, violent or corrupt.  Even when the events being reported occur abroad, that fact is omitted from the banner headlines, so that the reader might reasonably assume that was in uk

Shooting of unarmed white man shown in police body camera videoCALIFORNIA

White female police officer charged with manslaughter after shooting unarmed black man Tulsa

Death of unarmed black man Terence Crutcher, shot by police with his hands up, sparks protests and official investigationTulsa

The list goes on.

Even when relaying the news from this country the headlines don’t always describe the reality, or omit an alternative scenario.

Snapchat video captures moment ‘a police officer repeatedly punches a suspect in the head five times’ – when one reads the whole article it is actually mentioned that the suspect was actually biting the officer’s leg and that was why he was being punched.  The article also contained the information that the whole incident had been investigated by the Aforce’s Professional Standards Department who adjuged that the amount of force used was in fact reasonable.  Not the impression given by the banner headline though is it?

Then there’s our old friend corruption. ALL cops are corrupt, didn’t you know?  Well at least that’s what the press would have us believe.

Scotland Yard launches ‘bent cop’ probe after 13 unsolved murder files lost – except that when one reads the whole article it includes this

The Met said they have no evidence the files, all dating back to the 1980s, have been destroyed by corrupt police officers, but added: “This is kept under constant review.”

Not quite such a strong story now is it?  The Met is a HUGE organisation and storage of its paper files must be a total nightmare. It is more probable that they have simply been lost/mislaid/misfiled.

The Met can’t find 13 files, who knows where they are?”  is not such an attention grabbing headline is it?

SOME officers are corrupt, but not very many.  Decent officers won’t and don’t tolerate corruption.  I am absolutely convinced that the Met, along with every other Force, would absolutely love to rid themselves of corrupt officers.  A little thing called EVIDENCE is what keeps getting in the way.  Many Forces have prosecuted and/or sacked corrupt officers when they have the EVIDENCE, but it’s a bit tricky without.

So, members of the press, if you have any EVIDENCE of Police corruption produce it and I’m 100% confident that it will be investigated and the appropriate action taken, if not, please stop labelling cops as Corrupt when you can’t prove it.

It’s no better than me saying that all journos are bunging Police Officers and Prison Officers for information.  I’m sure it goes on but do you ALL do it?  No, probably not.

Stop acting like the government’s paid bullies and try employing more accurate and responsible headlines.

Some while ago I wrote this,  it seems that the Press are playing their part very well.

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I Feel So Much Safer Now

NOT

I have just read Peter Kirkham’s most excellent post, and rather than paraphrase or précis it, I recommend that you read it here.

All I can say in response is that the government have not made me feel any safer at all.  We’re going to keep both of our new Aircraft Carriers. Oh goody.  The Typhoons are staying with us for another 25 years. Great.  We’re getting a shed load of Stealth Fighters, fantastic.

The government has pledged BILLIONS of ££££ for these things, and that is good.

What bothers me is that the current threat is from Terrorists and it is NOW, not in 10 years or so when the increased funding for the military etc will begin to reap its benefits.

If we are unfortunate enough to have a Paris style attack in London in the next few months, who will face it?

Will a Trident submarine surface in the Pool of London and flatten the terrorists?  A squadron of Typhoons fly over the capital and demonstrate their skills at Air Strikes?   No.

It will be the Police who are the first resort. POSSIBLY supported by the Army, but with the best will in the world that can’t be guaranteed.

I remain to see what  Gorgeous George says tomorrow, but it’s highly likely that the very group of people who would be in the Front Line of any reply to an ISIS attack will be the biggest losers in tomorrow’s speech.

If that turns out to be true, and if we do indeed suffer an ISIS attack here, hundreds of thousands of people will never forgive, never forget and will hold the whole of Camoron’s Cabinet petsonally responsible.

If you choose to ignore the advice from professionals you do so at your own risk.

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The Box Is Empty

One Tweet this morning reminded me immediately of everything that is wrong with Public Protection in this country at the moment.

 

I really don’t want to be scoring cheap points off the back of a real human tragedy like we have witnessed in Paris over the last few hours, but neither do I believe that it is right to stay quiet.

For the second time this year Paris specifically, and France in general, has endured an unthinkable onslaught.  Charlie Hebo was bad, last night was simply bloody awful.

Apart from my immediate sympathy for anybody caught up in the unfolding events, I could not help but think “What if this was happening in London?”.

Despite the fact that the tragic events were taking place at possibly 5 different locations within Paris, albeit not too far apart, the Grndarmes were very quickly on scene and dealing.  Within a couple of hours the French President had held his equivalent of a COBRA meeting, declared a National State of Emergency, a curfew was imposed in Paris and 1,500 troops were bussed into Paris to assist the Gendarmerie.

So how would we have coped if it had happened in London?

Well, we would have coped, because that is what we do, but how we would have coped is the issue really.  We would have done our very best, just like we always do.  But……..

The Army is the smallest it has been since the Second World War.  It has been reduced to just over 80,000 and destined to become maybe as few as 50,000 before 2020.  The face of warfare has changed, fair enough, but what about at home?  Do we now whistle up a couple of Apache Helicopters and heir Hellfire missiles to deal with a ‘live’ terrorist attack in the capital?  Could we truly send a few thousand troops into the capital at a couple of hours notice?

It is well reported what the Home Secretary is doing to the Police Service in the name of Reform, and more savage cuts are just about to be announced I fear, possibly a further 17,000 Police Officers above the 17,500 already lost.

The UK Border Force, our ‘Front Line’ against those intent on entering our country illegally, has also been slashed.  The Home Office planned to cut their numbers by 22% by this year, Heaven knows what is planned for the next 5 years.

Finally MI5, MI6 and GCHQ are also suffering the same fate.  Their iconic premises are under threat of being sold off and their numbers and resources reduced.

All of the above at a time when International Terrorism is, at best, unpredictabe, at worst, the threat is rising rapidly.

Moving troops and Police Officers around the country leaves a ‘black hole’ somewhere else.  No single unit (not even the Met) now has the resilience to beef up its defences to meet such a threat head on.  All resilience has gone.  Forever if the government get their way.

How are we supposed to protect the public like this?  And that is all we want to do.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE Home Secretary swallow your pride and reverse these irresponsible and reckless cuts.  Just let us protect our country like I believe the public want us to.  Let us not have a 2015 Paris in London, or anywhere else in the UK.

Many people will hold you personally responsible if it happens.  Think on that.

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Critical Mass

CRITICAL MASS

1. (Nuclear Physics) the minimum mass of fissionable material that can sustain a nuclear chain reaction
2. the minimum amount of money or number of people required to start or sustain an operation, business, process, etc:

Well, we must just about be approaching Critical Mass in UK PLC any time now.

I make no apology for concentrating on the wholesale slaughter of our Police Service, nobody would be surprised by that, but it doesn’t stop there does it?

17,000+  fewer Police Officers, with yet more savage cuts to come before 2020.

In the last 4 years the British Army (not including Ghurkas) has been reduced by 19,000 Regular Soldiers and Officers.

In the same period the Royal Navy has been reduced by approx 5,000 and the Royal Air Force by approx 8,000.

The Crown Prosecution Service has seen its budget cut by 25% and staff numbers reduced by 2,500.

Yesterday we heard the news that Addenbrookes Hospital had been graded Inadequate and placed in ‘Special Measures’.  I have to say that my personal opinion, for what that’s worth, is that Addenbrookes is NOT a bad hospital, it is an excellent hospital made bad by the government cuts.  The ‘highlights’ of the Care Quality Commission’s findings were;

  • A “significant shortfall of staff” in a number of areas resulted in staff being moved from one service to another and patients being cared for by workers without relevant training
  • Pressure on surgical services meant routine operations were frequently cancelled and, despite some outstanding maternity services, staffing issues led to regular closures
  • Important messages from the clinical divisions were not highlighted at trust board level
  • Introducing the £200m EPIC IT system for clinical records affected the “ability to report, highlight and take action on data” and meant medicines were not always prescribed correctly
  • Inspectors found “caring staff who did everything they could for patients” and “efficient” and “effective” emergency and major trauma departments

Surely to goodness the first two findings are indicative of budgetary strangulation?  ‘Not enough staff’ is usually caused by ‘not enough money to pay them’ rather than a physical shortage o staff or inability to fill vacancies.  The final point above is an indication of excellence in my book.  If the staff are ‘Caring’, ‘Efficient’ and ‘Effective’ then there is another reason why the hospital is under-performing, isn’t there Jeremy?

The Marine and Coastguard Agency is crumbling around our ears and the stalwarts who were not made redundant are now leaving the Service, presumably due the manner in which they have been treated.

Privatisation of Prisons has had a good effect, most of the lurid headlines we have seen in the last couple of years have taken place at privately run prisons I believe.

The list goes on and on, but getting back to my main point;

I don’t know what it is but somebody out there must do, and is keeping quiet;

There MUST be a Minimum Number of Police Officers, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Doctors, Nurses, Coastguards, Lawyers, etc etc etc that we need for UK PLC to run efficiently and be safe and sustainable i.e. a Critical Mass.  I truly fear that we will soon go below that number, if we haven’t already.  All of the above services are NOT traditional Industries that sell things to make a profit, they all need money pumping into them to make them work and if you strangle that flow of money something breaks, doesn’t get done.  I have seen the question asked many times before – “What shall we stop doing in order to meet your requirements?”  I haven’t yet seen one single answer.

Some time ago I said that I had heard that the Home Office were looking to reduce Police Numbers as low as 80,000, nobody within the Police Service or the Home Office has ever challenged that figure and told me that I am wrong.

The Armed Forces are an embarrassment, through no fault of their own.  I am immensely proud of our Armed Forces, but they can’t get the job done with slashed numbers either.

Three years ago the NHS was the ‘poor cousin’ worldwide;

There were just 2.8 doctors and 8.2 nurses per 10,000 population in 2012, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

In comparison, the other wealthy countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had averages of 3.2 and 8.9 respectively, with the EIU describing the UK figures as “worrying” due to the link between staff numbers and patient outcomes.

n terms of physical resources, the report said the situation was even worse, with just 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 population against an OECD average of 4.8. In Japan there were 13.4 per 1,000.

The UK also had less than half the amount of equipment – such as computerised tomography (CT) scanners and magnetic resonance image (MRI) units – than the average, at 6.8 and 8.7 per million population.

Overall it ranked just 28th out of 30 countries for healthcare resourcing, with only Israel and Turkey coming out worse.

That was three years ago, how bad can it have got since?

Fiddling While Britain Burns
Fiddling While Britain Burns

And all the time the pompous idiots that rule this country sit back and make sure that the bankers etc etc can have their bonuses back and not have to suffer like ‘ordinary’ people.

What makes it all worse, unforgivable even, is that this a cold, calculated, deliberate act by Camoron and his Cronies.  Aided and Abetted by self-serving businessmen and women, Senior Police Officers, possibly even senior Service Personnel, Civil Servants all selling out for a Knighthood or a Peerage.

Now we know exactly what is meant by the words “Reform is Working”

 

Safe to say I’m not in line for either of those but I might just be on some kind of list by now.

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